Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Traditional Christmas

Christmas at Mater's is a strictly traditional affair. There is a strong hint of the Victorian while food is at Edwardian, or possibly even Henry VIII, standard.
Christmas Tree
One of my favourites are Marzipan Fruit.
Marzipan Fruits
Nom. Mum even put them on the Christmas Cake.
Christmas Cake
Since I was born this amazingly retro crib has played a large part of the festivities.
Wooden Nativity
I decided this year that the lamb wanted a better view so stuck him on top of the ox. Seemed fair enough to all concerned.

Things were enlivened by El Diablo.
Snooty Cat
She has fads. Her latest is sitting on the backs of armchairs instead of anywhere flatter. This would be fine but she has awful balance. She wobbles back and forth like a ship at sea. And when she jumps down she jumps from the back to the arm and then to the floor. Except last time she kind of missed the arm and belly flopped to the ground. Dignity is not a friend to this cat.

I got some lovely presents including the new Alice Starmore chart book but then I also got...
Wooden Jumper Blocking Board
Just what I always wanted - me in wood form. I'm going to tuck it into the 'guest' side of the bed tonight. I've been thinking of naming her. I don't generally approve of naming inanimate objects but I'm thinking "Betsy". As in "heavens to". My dad made it for me from a paper template I made. It's varnished and everything so wet blocking will be a breeze. Hoopla!

Sunday, 25 December 2011


Merry Christmas to you all.
christmas squircle 2011-01

I see the Pope has condemned the commercialisation and 'glitter' of christmas. I know what he means, but sometimes people need a little glitter in their lives.
19-03-10 Glitter

Friday, 23 December 2011

Thumbs eh?

I never realised how much i used my right thumb until I started getting what I suspect is RSI. I've moved my mouse to my left side at work but it's still getting worse. I suspect it is my iphone. Very annoying.

Despite this I was successful in completing a Fat Kittie yesterday. Mine is an angry kitty.
Fat Angry Kitty
Each time I look at him I smile so it seems to be working quite well.

I finished the first of my lovely socks the other day.
Circles Sock
I do love how it has turned out. Which brings me onto a touchy point. I have not yet packed any other knitting to take down to Mater's. One sock is not going to last me five days.

There were some very good points made in comments on my last post. I guess Christmas is always going to be a difficult time. I'm really looking forward to heading off in...eeek! Too few hours. I'd better go and pack.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

It Only Takes a Minute...

I have brung myself low.
Deep Hole Caution
I was clearing out old emails today and found one from Pooch which ended with "I love you Byrnington". Instead of pressing delete and moving on I lingered which dug the foundations of the hole (I know what I mean) and it then got deeper as the day wore on.

Steve from work (not only mentioned as an excuse to show a gratuitous santa shot again since it is indeed he) has been talking about buying a house with his wife. I am very happy for them. BUT...
5k santa run for the stroke association
It also reminds me once again of how close I was to buying a flat with Pooch, having a baby with Pooch, having security with Pooch...when all of a sudden I overhear a conversation and it's "Syonara". Of course it wasn't 'all of a sudden' but that's for dramatic effect and so the plot doesn't get bogged down in detail. It's not like I didn't blog about it all ad nauseum anyway.

What really enrages me though is not that I am so far off the housing ladder I'm actually in a hole next to the ladder (although that is really annoying) but that I still miss him! It's absurd. Ridiculous. Insane.
Even while I'm thinking about everything he did - the cheating, the lies, the drinking - I still miss him! It's so fucking annoying!
funny pictures - Ur shag carpet  it haz an angry

Does anyone have a solution? Actually, I did just buy a new bottle of Tia Maria. Maybe that's all there is to it.

While looking for pictures for this post I came across these awesome Fat Kitties.
She has an etsy shop here. Looking at the angry fat kitties has actually made me feel a bit less angry. Or that could be the second shot kicking in. My MIL who I miss so much sent me a cat calender yesterday. Nope, I'm back in the hole again. Pass the bottle...

Monday, 19 December 2011

Forward Planning

Slow day at work today. I happened to be catching up with a few blogs when I came across this post at Skein's Blog. The IntSweMoDo (basically knitting a sweater a month) continues in 2012 and she discusses signing up. She also then ponders what she might make.
sweaters for 1/6 dolls
I've always admired people who sign up for that kind of thing. I am just not a joiner. As soon as I feel obliged to make something I'd rather do the washing up or clean the windows or a million other things. But then I do crave that feeling of achievement. Difficult. I think instead I might be better off with a list of "strong intentions".

1. Paper Dolls
I want mine to have a different motif and sleeves though.
Paper dolls
I have played with a cheshire cat motif....not sure.
Cheshire Cat

2. Harvest Moon
I pretty much like this the way it is.

3. Buttony Sweater
I have twice cast this on and twice frogged it. I think it's the yarn - I haven't found the right yarn for it yet. I really like this one:

4. Circles Cardigan
This is to be like the socks I've been making.
But with the pattern on the yoke and tops of the sleeves like this one I made aeons ago and have worn consistently ever since.

5. Spode Jumper
My Mum has all this blue and white spode china which is just beautiful. One of the saucers inspires me.
Spode china plate
Over christmas I'll be charting this for a fairisle jumper. That's the plan anyway.

I think that's enough. I don't want to get carried away and convince myself that 12 sweaters in a year is achievable.

I got my first christmas present last night - a copy of the Quantum Mechanics book I blogged about before. That's my holiday reading sorted! Which reminds me - if you are not aware of Knitting on the Green I would go there. As well as gorgeous knitting and crafting Liz does excellent book reviews. I've read a couple this year on the back of her recommendations.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

But Why Not?

A couple of years ago I went to a kind of general wellbeing fair with my sister. There were gurus and coaches and motivators aplenty. I had a freebie 5 minutes with a career coach.
"Career Pants"
She asked me to think of my ideal job and of course (of course) I talked about knitting and pattern designing and dyeing and accessories and so on. "But" I said "there's no money in it."
Best. Cat. Pic. Ever.
"Do you know anyone who does make a living from it?" She asked me.
"Oh yes, lots of people." I said.
"So...why couldn't you earn a living from it?"
Of course (of course) I know it's not that easy and that if it were we would all be doing it. But...

I keep thinking there is no money in writing patterns - even while I am paying to download the occasional one from Ravelry. I have written patterns - they are on Ravelry and one even has 332 likes and has been made 54 times. I made this cardigan a while ago.
Sock Yarn Ripple Cardigan
Yeah, I look kind of ill. I was quite mental around then. BUT the point is I was going to write up the pattern. I don't think I could remember it now. And I used to make stitchmarkers. And I sold them. People bought them I mean. I didn't just list them on etsy. Why did I stop doing that?
Over christmas I have printed a couple of things to take to Mater's so I can design a jumper and cardigan while I am down there. I am definitely going to keep notes as I go along so I can share them, even if it is just for free on this blog. I know it's a long way from casually writing up a pattern to earning a living but then from tiny seeds do giant vegetables grow...
cucumber aka "jolly green giant"

As I type I am being taunted by the wholesome smells emanating from my slow cooker. I cannot recommend these strongly enough. Less than half an hour in the morning and by evening a delicious meal without any stirring, turning, adjusting etc. Plus if you are single you can make batches and then freeze portions for other days. Definite bonus. At the moment I have Irish Stew in progress using some of the chicken stock I made using my slow cooker 2 weeks ago.
slow cooker irish stew
A lot of people seem to have one but are not sure where to start. There are a zillion recipes online but I would recommend this book:

It's very cheap and quite small but really does explain the basics as well as having yummy recipes. The irish stew is from there and I've made loads of others in the past.

Monday, 12 December 2011

In love...

I adore this pattern. It makes any self-patterning yarn look spectacular. I've made it twice for other people but never for myself. Having fallen for this yarn (Opal) in Iknit I knew the two were meant to be together. Loving it. I've been thinking of making a cardigan with the top third in this pattern like this one. Only without the nine freakin' dollars spent on the pattern. $9! For one pattern? Bleh.

Meanwhile I have a few more photos of the Santa Run...
Santa Run Beard and Moustache
Santa Run Pointy Hat 1
Santa Run Dream Team
I was thrilled to see on Twitter that Yarn Yard's Natalie has started Couch to 5K too. She says I inspired her and I was in turn inspired by another knitter. Aren't knitters great!?

Yesterday I took Gordon to a lecture of sorts by TV grinner Prof Brian Cox and his colleague Jeff Forshaw about their new book.

It was very interesting and I definitely want to read the book now. Hopefully I'll get it for xmas! The day had already been fairly awesome before we got to the South Bank for the lecture. Having got there early we had a good look round the christmas market and...what I've been wanting to do for weeks since I saw one outside the NHM...
Carousel Merry-go-round Savanna
You may have your whirlygigs and rollercoasters but give me a good old fashioned Carousel and I'm a happy bunny. Flash seemed to enjoy it too...

Sunday, 4 December 2011


Heart adrift deux
Erm. You know after your divorce comes through?
Another Place
What are you supposed to do then?
DB just texted to ask me how I was feeling.

I dunno.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

On the 3rd day of christmas...

Today was the day of the big race.
5k santa run for the stroke association
My friend Steve had also agreed to do it and was running despite an ankle injury.
5k santa run for the stroke association
We were supported by my lovely bf and a number of other santas and their families. I think there were about 200 of us all together.
5k santa run for the stroke association
Flash took most of the photos so these are just a couple from my phone, but it was pretty awesome even though the first half was UPHILL! I have carefully mapped my runs to date so that they are on level ground so that was a bit of a shocker. But still, a mere 40 minutes after starting I was back again and medalled up. Oh yeah. AND we raised £155 - thanks to everyone who sponsored me and plenty of time left if you still want to. Click here for the JustGiving page.

I got home a little while ago utterly exhausted and a bit cold to find the Decree Absolute waiting for me. For those lucky people among you not up on divorce jargon - the decree nisi is permission from the Court to get divorced after they have accepted your evidence. The decree absolute is when the marriage is formally dissolved.
Civilized Divorce
So for the first time since 1st August 2007 I'm single. I'll be honest - it's a bit weird.

Sunday, 27 November 2011


One of the WWE Smackdown commentators is called Booker T. He used to wrestle and now commentates. His celebratory move was the spinneroonie.
Now I've got my own spinneroonie.
Crocheted circles
Only a few so far but it just goes to show what a difference a day makes. I was totally against the yarn I'd got for my new afghan last week. This week I'm all about it. I am firmly committed to crocheted afghans. I would love to do a Curve of Pursuit but it's knitting. Something about that just seems wrong.

The final fabric for my sister's wedding quilt arrived. It is one I created on Spoonflower and I'm rather happy with it.
Saxophone Fabric
It means I can start sewing and dutifully have. Rather exciting to be so far ahead of schedule for once. Naturally it won't last but, well, there you go.

So apart from all that how are things? It was a very busy week at work last week. 2 days in Manchester was particularly hard not just with the work being challenging but also because of that being Pooch's homeground. Every female voice reminded me painfully of the mother-in-law and sisters-in-law I've lost. Then when I got back Pooch rang me to say my father-in-law had had a heart attack AND had pneumonia. He went into hospital on Monday when I was actually in Manchester and could have done...something...I dunno. Pooch tells me he is improving but it's horrible to be at such a remove. I've written but it's just not the same.

To lighten the mood I am finally going to have a go at making raspberry marshmallow. The first time I was just trying for plain marshmallow and it went fairly horrible. This time I have a sugar thermometer so am slightly more hopeful. You can be sure I'll post the results here.
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